bahamas.jpgThis week I am enjoying a wonderful vacation with my family in the Bahamas on the island of Grand Bahama. I plan to do a lot of reading, scuba diving, sailing, and swimming in the ocean, all while enjoying some much needed time away with my dad, mom, brother, and sisters. For books, I brought along Chosen for Life by Sam Storms, The Cross of Christ by John Stott and, of course, my Bible (ESV). So far Chosen for Life has been very good. As someone who just a couple of years ago would have called himself an Armenian Christian without even thinking twice about it, this book really helps to solidify a lot of what has changed in my thinking since my year in seminary nearly three years ago. I felt so wrong claiming that my faith had brought me to God because everything I had ever read or felt was that God called me (Ephesians 4:1), God chose me (Ephesians 1:4), God elected me (Romans 9:11), God did everything. I have always been told that one goes to God by faith and received forgiveness, but when I think about it now, faith would give me an area to boast in. I could stand next to my unregenerate neighbor and say, “I chose God but you did not, I did something you did not,” however this is contrary to Ephesians 2:8-10. These verses say, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” “Not by your own doing,” those words shake my beliefs to the core, is the Bible saying that salvation is something I did not do? It is, the Bible says that “it (salvation) is the gift of God.” I can boast in nothing, it was all God and that bring me to my knees in honest worship, thanking God for his love, his work, his sacrifice and the gift of fellowship and eternal life with him.
This change in thinking effects how one conducts evangelism. Instead on going on the streets and trying to convince someone of the Gospel I now realize that the work is God’s and I am only the instrument. I am there to present the Gospel and be a witness of Jesus. The work is God’s from beginning to end. J.I. Packer has written a very good book on this very topic, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. I highly recommend it to anyone wondering about evangelism, God’s Sovereignty, and the interplay between the two.